Spider veins and varicose veins can make you feel self-conscious about wearing swimsuits or shorts and may also cause distressing symptoms. Sclerotherapy is a quick and easy solution to the problem of spider veins and varicose veins. Performed by vascular surgeon David H. Bellamah, of the Bellamah Vein Center in Missoula, Montana, sclerotherapy can eliminate these veins and improve the appearance of your legs or other areas such as the face.
Why Do I Need Sclerotherapy?
Varicose veins can be unsightly, which is one of the main reasons why people decide to get treatment. However, they can also cause symptoms such as pain or swelling, especially when they occur in the lower legs. Varicose veins may also cause itching and dry skin in the lower legs. In severe cases, the circulation can be so poor that the varicose vein can cause skin breakdown and ulceration. Spider veins, which are a much smaller form of varicose vein, rarely cause symptoms but can appear in highly visible places like the face.
Sclerotherapy is what’s known as a minimally invasive treatment for smaller varicose veins and spider veins. This treatment can be performed in a doctor’s office and does not require anesthetic. The concept of sclerotherapy is that an irritant that affects the vein walls can make varicose veins swell and then collapse. If pressure is then applied and maintained for a period of time, the vein will scar closed and eventually be absorbed into the surrounding tissue. The solution may be in the form of a liquid or foam and is injected directly into the vein. The needles used are very fine and leave no scars on the skin.
What’s a Sclerotherapy Procedure Like?
The procedure is simple and takes very little time – usually an hour or less, depending on whether one or more veins will be treated. First the injection site is carefully cleaned to prevent infection. Next, the doctor uses a small needle to inject the solution. Some patients report a mild burning or stinging sensation as the liquid is injected, but the sensation disappears quickly. A temporary cramping sensation may occur when a larger vein is injected.
What About Aftercare for Sclerotherapy?
You’ll need to wear special support hose or compression bandages for a week or two after the procedure has been completed. The compression effect is what helps the veins scar closed; otherwise, the veins might fill with blood again. Some people experience hard red lumps or brownish discoloration and lines after the treatment. These symptoms typically disappear within a few weeks or months. It may take up to six months for the veins to fully respond to treatment. Treatment can be repeated if necessary.
Sclerotherapy may be considered a cosmetic procedure by your insurance company, so it’s wise to explore payment issues before making a decision. Please contact us for any questions you might have about varicose vein treatment or sclerotherapy techniques and treatment. We can also schedule a consultation with Dr. Bellamah to determine whether sclerotherapy is right for your situation.